California State University, Northridge has announced its participation in a new national initiative called the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact. CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison has signed the compact—which was developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and employers working with AAC&U colleges and universities across the country—to make high-quality college education a shared national priority.
“I am pleased to be part of this new national effort bringing employers and educators together to ensure that all of our students understand what it takes to succeed in today’s workplace,” said President Harrison, “and to partner on ways to provide students with more opportunities to apply their learning in real-world settings.”
The compact was launched yesterday at a forum in Washington, D.C., that featured remarks by U.S. Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter. More than 250 college presidents and business and nonprofit leaders have signed on to the compact. They have pledged to work together to ensure that all college students—including those attending two- and four-year, public and private institutions—have access to a high-quality, liberal education that prepares them successfully for work, life and citizenship.
CSUN Partner Organizations include Boston Scientific; Child Development Institute; East, Mid and West Valley Family YMCAs; Mission Community Hospital; Network for a Healthy California; Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne; St. Francis Medical Center; The Trust for Public Land–Los Angeles–Parks for People Program; and 24 Hour Fitness.
Participating campuses and employers will work together through 2014 to showcase employer support for the aims and outcomes of a broad education and to show how higher education is helping students connect college courses with work, citizenship and global challenges.
As part of the compact initiative, nine of CSUN’s local employer partners signed the compact, underscoring their belief in the economic value of a liberal education and providing students with hands-on learning opportunities.
AAC&U is a national organization of colleges and universities of which CSUN is a long-standing member. President Harrison also is a member of a special presidential leadership group within AAC&U called the LEAP Presidents’ Trust. Trust members, and employers who work with them, are the initial signatories to this ongoing initiative to ensure that today’s students will be well prepared for economic, civic and global challenges.
“It is significant that several of CSUN’s employer partners have chosen to sign the compact,“ Harrison continued. “These partners, who provide our students with internships and community projects and employ our graduates, are joining with us to emphasize the value of a high-quality education. High-quality education for the 21st century extends beyond what students learn in their major fields.
“Too many students believe that the key to economic success is completion of a major whose title seems to promise a job,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “What the compact and the research on employer priorities show is that, whatever the choice of major, employers say that career success will require broad liberal learning, strong 21st century skills, and real-world experience and savvy. We want to make sure that students and their families hear this message from employers themselves.”
President Harrison agrees. “Whatever a student’s major, liberal education also encompasses a broad range of skills and knowledge. It means developing intellectual skills that support evidence-based reasoning and innovation, problem solving and communication skills, and critical thinking. It requires being able to apply knowledge and skills to complex problems in new settings and in a diverse and global workplace. We are also jointly committed to preparing students both for successful careers and for civic and social responsibility,” she said.
For more information about the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact, including a full list of signatories, please visit the AAC&U website.